First Story Positive: THIS Delhi man runs a school for the underprivileged under a bridge
Rajesh Kumar Sharma from Delhi has been running a makeshift school under the Yamuna Bank metro bridge flyover since 2006-
A lot of children in India still do not have access to education. Despite various initiatives to promote and encourage children to join school, many find it difficult to pursue an education due to various factors. In these trying times, it’s the efforts of one brave and selfless soul that makes them a beacon of hope and light for those lost in the darkness. Such are the efforts of this grocery store owner from Delhi, who decided to embody the guiding light of a teacher.
Rajesh Kumar Sharma from Delhi has been running a makeshift school under the Yamuna Bank metro bridge flyover since the past 16 years. The school teaches students from nearby slums and underprivileged areas. His mission is to educate every child and build a brighter future for them. This is his inspiring story of practising kindness through educating the underserved children.
Rajesh and his accomplice Laxmi Chandra have run the makeshift school with their own personal expenses and have taught thousands of children to give them an opportunity to strive for a better future. Within the first year of their work, 140 children enrolled with them. By 2019, there were as many as 300 children in the school, however, the number has come down due to post pandemic conditions.
Named ‘The Free School Under the Bridge', the school runs in two shifts, one from 9-11 am for 120 boys, and the second, from 2-4:30 pm for 180 girls. The school also has seven teachers who volunteer to teach the students aged between four to fourteen years, in their free time.
But what inspired this selfless ambition? Back in the days, Sharma could not complete his BSc. degree due to financial constraints. He pledged to himself and decided that nobody should be deprived of education. He dedicates more than 50 hours a week to support and educate these children who can’t afford it. The school started in 2006 when the idea struck in Sharma’s mind while wandering around the empty fields close to the Yamuna river.
Migrant labourers, rickshaw pullers and labourers line up every morning to drop their kids at the free school. The children who come from the nearby slums lack basic documents to be enrolled in regular schools. Once admitted in these free schools, the volunteers give them the basic education and also help them with the paperwork to enrol in government schools. Children here are also provided with textbooks and notebooks by well wishers who are part of the project.
The curriculum that the “School Under the Bridge” follows focuses on basics of language, mathematics and science. His goal is selfless help and educating poor children and making them smile is all that he wants. Sharma’s efforts have proved life changing for his students who got admissions in government schools through his guidance. They are now building a brighter future for themselves and their families. Kindness can come through a small act of even realising the need to change, and that’s exactly what Rajesh’s story proves to us all.